Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We came, we saw, and I nearly froze

What we did from December 25th - January 9th.

Drove to Jasper, drove to Vermont, drove to Maine, drove to Ohio, drove back to Jasper, drove to Mobile. Collapsed.

Yes, it was a mad, mad 15 days.

As my little sister is holding the Vermont pictures hostage in her camera and hasn't emailed them to me, I will talk of Maine.

Jim's parents are in the process of building a large, gray, granite-countered, central-vacuumed, heated floor in the master bath, retirement home on the beautiful coast of Maine. This was our first time to visit them since they moved up there. Seventeen hundred miles up there. Good gravy. I can't believe we drove that! And please understand that I use the term "we" very loosely. I drove a possible total of 6 hours on this entire trip. My husband is insanely talented at driving for long periods of time. For instance: Driving from Jasper, AL to Rutland, VT. He drove from 0800 - 1700. I drove from 1701- 2140. He then drove from 2141 - 0430. At this point, he told me he was getting sleepy (WHAT?! What's with THAT?!) and I said I would drive. So I did. For one hour. And then I was sleepy. So I pulled over at a rest stop and we rested.

Wow. Did I ever drift from my in-laws retirement home! So, yes. Maine.
Lobster for our very first dinner. Appropriate, no? This was only the second time in my life I have eaten a lobster and it was just as enjoyable as the first. Except this time, I didn't get sick afterwards! Hooray for no sick!! On a sidenote - You know in cartoons, or advertisements, or stories, or in Shrek, where they serve their guests an entire lobster? And it's always a fancy dinner with fancy clothes and delicate dishes? Well, I am here to tell you that that is poppycock! A lobster in its shell is one of the hardest food sources I have ever had to get into! Granted, this is America, where we complain when the orange peel doesn't come off easily.... moving on. Most unladylike, eating a lobster. You WRENCH off each leg and then suck (yes, suck) the meat out of each one. You then break the head from the body, but only after cracking the shell open with a special tool placed by your plate. At this point, lobster juice is running down both arms. Perspiration is beading on your forehead. Your lips are tight with concentration.

"Don't break the sac of fluid in its head," Meryl says. "It's poisonous and will kill you."

Now, my lips are even tighter. A cold sweat breaks out. If I die in Maine, how will they bury me when the ground is frozen solid?

Now you have to break the tail off of the body. The shell is hard with sharp points. Your arms are sticky and your hands are slippery. The shell cracker is metal and hard to hold on to. But the tail is the largest piece of meat and worthing fighting for! As you finally sink your teeth into it, you marvel at the lobster's ability to be so ornery... even though it's dead.

Jim had received the Seafarers Extension for Settlers of Catan for Christmas. It takes quite a while to set up for those of you who have never played with the Seafarers Extension. For those of you who have never played Settlers of Catan at all, well... you are invited to our home.

We played it once and then we played it once again. Two times we played.

Pictionary and then Taboo. Cribbage twice, Sequence (4 times), and Pinochle (x2). Girls against boys in every game. Okay, okay... I'll say it: the boys one every game EXCEPT for one game of pinochle. On our final night, the boys beat us in back-to-back games of Cribbage. As Jim and I retired for bed, I was quiet. He asked if I was okay. I said, "I'm not going to lie. I'm getting tired of losing games." I did not play on the checkerboard Jim made them for Christmas, cool though it was.

No snow, despite single digits at night. The outdoors were still enjoyed as we went for some long, cold, wonderful walks along the wild, rocky Maine coasts.

While walking through the woods up there, it is not uncommon to find old, moss-covered property lines in the form of stone walls.

I wore two layers on my legs, five layers on my torso and a toboggan, my sweatshirt hood, and my coat hood. And gloves. We would march along and my in-laws would say, "The sun feels so good!" and I wouldn't be able to say anything. You see, my nose had frozen and fallen off my face and I was too busy looking for it. On two of the walks, we would be able to walk out to islands because the tide was out.

One day was particularly cold. We emerged from the cover of the woods and took a step out behind the coastal boulders. The force of the wind sent windy knives slicing through my clothes. My eyes watered and I had to make the decision to breathe. Obviously, I did. But I would have really liked a warmer source of oxygen.

There were icicles everywhere. Some hung off of cliffs and others came out of the mud.

Like these.

The cove was frozen over.

Icicles and a frozen cove resulted in this being one of my favorite things to do:

No, not check facebook. Stay inside by the fire.

It was 4 and a half wonderful, fun, relaxing days spend with our parents.
And Seebar.

And Galley Cat.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Merry Christmas!.... a little late

I will be posting a little of our trip at a time. So... if you are impatient and want to hear about our entire trip all at once, I would advise you to come back in a few weeks. Not that I'm trying to say that our vacations are worthy of impatience.... anyway.

Part one - Christmas Day at the Porter Quarters

Two things that were rather consuming this year: 1 - My Mom's ipad and the games that were on it and 2 - the freakishly large tv where one could play the playstation.

The consumption is evidenced by this picture.

And this one.

And this one.

Oh.... and this one. And Alisa and Anna are rocking their haircuts. I'm kind of jealous.

Two things that were different this year: 1 - We had a fire crackling in the living room (despite Alisa's protests that it was redneck to let Youtube provide it) and 2 - We made a mess with the wrapping paper (my Dad normally doesn't like the paper to be left all in the floor during the unwrapping process).

Both are evidenced by this picture.

Finn made an appearance and Aunt Ronda gave her some Christmas bling. Doesn't she looked ecstatic?

My Mom gave me my great great grandfather's pocket watch for Christmas!

The next morning, Asa, Anna, Jim and myself all rose and hit the road for Vermont....and I will tell you about that later.

P.S. I was just kidding about the watch being from my great great grandfather. It was just my great grandfather.

P.P.S. Just kidding again. It was from the mall.